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Venezuela > Energy and natural resources > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Energy and natural resources
  2. Leading lawyers
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Leading lawyers

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Despacho de Abogados Miembro de Hogan Lovells has established itself as the key player acting for state-owned energy entities. It impresses with the scope of its practice, covering transactions, financing, competition matters and international arbitration. Recent activity includes advising key client PDVSA on a joint venture with PetroChina for the development, construction and financing of an oil refinery in Jieyang City, China; and assisting the same client in obtaining a $1bn loan from Gazprombank through a pre-payment facility. Key names include Luis Bottaro, who draws on his previous in-house experience with PDVSA; Bruno Ciuffetelli, who divides his time between Miami and Caracas; and Gonzalo Rodriguez-Matos.

Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque’s ‘good’ team has extensive experience covering upstream, midstream and downstream work in the oil and gas sector. It is acting as local counsel to Rosneft on acquiring and importing to Venezuela three oil rigs. Along with its oil and gas expertise, the team has a notable mining practice; practice head Miguel Rivero is leading a team assisting Chinese state-owned entity Yankuang Group in negotiations with PDVSA, the Central Bank of Venezuela and the Venezuelan Mining Corporation to establish a joint venture for the exploitation of a gold mine in southern Venezuela, which includes reviewing Venezuelan mining legislation. Associate Simón Herrera-Celis, who joined the firm in 2016 from an in-house position, is an energy specialist. José Gregorio Torrealba and José Alberto Ramírez-León are also noted.

InterJuris Abogadosknows the energy sector very well’. The ‘knowledgeable’ Gabriela Rachadell de Delgado and Juan José Delgado assisted HNR Finance in negotiations with the Venezuelan government and a state-owned company concerning the financing of a joint venture oil project. Other work included advising Gazprom Neft on financing to be provided by a class B shareholder in relation to an oil and gas project in the Orinoco Belt; and assisting China National Petroleum Corporation, as a class B shareholder, in acquiring the interest of a class A shareholder in the Sinovensa project. Adriana Lezcano and Ira Vergani are also noted. Since research concluded, the team has been further strengthened with the hire of oil-and-gas expert Jose Maria Rivas, formerly general counsel at Harvest Natural Resources.

Norton Rose Fulbright has a strong track record in oil and gas projects, and its impressive client list includes Chevron, Schlumberger and China National Petroleum Corporation. The practice works closely with the firm’s tax, administrative law and dispute resolution teams. Sergio Casinelli has extensive experience in financing, dispute resolution and regulatory issues in the energy space. Financing specialist Rubén Eduardo Luján, Daniela Jaimes and Natalija Vojvodic are other names to note.

The well-respected energy and natural resources practice at Baker McKenzie SC has particular strength in both oil and gas, and mining work. Eugenio Hernández-Bretón, who is ‘a reference in the country for all legal and multinational (energy) corporate law matters’, is currently leading advice to Anglo American in a $600m ICSID investment arbitration case against the Republic of Venezuela under the UK-Venezuela BIT agreement, among a number of headline cases. In other work, Maria Eugenia Salazar and senior associate Hector Martinez are advising drilling contractor Nabors Industries on contract negotiations with PDVSA. Additional clients include Total and Eni Venezuela.

D’Empaire Reyna Abogados has consolidated its position as a key player for oil and gas in Venezuela with several headline mandates. Fulvio Italiani is advising Rosneft on its various projects in Venezuela; and, together with Roberto Mas, is assisting Chevron in relation to its investments in joint ventures in the Orinoco Belt and other areas of Venezuela. Arnoldo Troconis is advising Seadrill on a drilling services contract. Carlos Omaña is also recommended. Roberto Strauss Perera was a new arrival in 2017.

Mendoza Palacios Acedo Borjas Páez Pumar & Cía is best known for acting for oil companies in contractual negotiations with PDVSA and its subsidiaries. Diego Lepervanche and Carlos Eduardo Acedo Sucre are advising Emerson Venezuela on negotiating and executing service and supply contracts with various state-owned entities. Carlos Páez Pumar is also noted.

Torres, Plaz & Araujo is very experienced in energy matters, and has notable tax, exchange control, arbitration and projects expertise. The team is advising Wärtsilä in relation to three power plants to be built in Venezuela; and is handling various matters for PetroVietnam, including updating various registrations with regulatory bodies. Other work included acting as local counsel for Koch Industries in a claim concerning the alleged expropriation of its interest in a nitrate fertiliser plant before ICSID. Valentina Cabrera Medina and Juan Carlos Garantón-Blanco are the key names.

Travieso Evans Arria Rengel & Paz’s ‘very competent’ team has extensive experience acting for oil industry service providers, including oil and drilling companies. It is also very active in the mining space and regularly advises on the formation of mining companies, the incorporation of mining rights into assets, and the negotiation of mining concessions. Simón Guevara Camacho has advised numerous investors on contract negotiations with PDVSA concerning joint ventures, and Eduardo Travieso Uribe is the other name to note.

Rodríguez & Mendoza has a strong track record advising domestic and foreign clients in the oil sector on the reactivation of marginal fields and the exploration and exploitation of extra-heavy crude oil and natural gas. Reinaldo Hellmund’s experience in the space includes oil-related joint ventures, and oil and gas project financing.

At WDA legal, S.C., Ramón Azpúrua is the key name for oil and gas work. His track record includes advising a Russia-based oil company on regulatory matters associated with potential investments in the Orinoco Belt, and assisting a transnational oil company in negotiating spot oil purchase agreements and joint venture agreements with a Venezuela-based national oil company.

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